People calling Uber over ambulances in emergencies
SALT LAKE CITY - In a medical emergency some people in Utah are now choosing ride services like Uber or Lyft over an ambulance to take them to the hospital.
Some riders say they would do it because of the costs. A trip with a rideshare might cost less than $30. An ambulance ride in Utah could cost a few hundred dollars to $1,700.
With 30 years as a first responder, Mark Becraft knows in a life or death situation that minutes matter. and so dose the equipment an skills available in an ambulance.
"They say 'I don't feel well' and we hook them to the machine and realize they're having a major medical incident and they need to not go to the ER but directly to a cath lab," Becraft says.
Ambulances are basically mobile hospital emergency rooms and are costly to maintain and staff. Last year, the North Davis Fire District billed around $2 million for ambulance rides but less than half of that was collected. Most had to be written off.
In return, it raises costs for everyone but if you're having a stroke or heart attack medical professionals say a rideshare service isn't the one to call.
"It's just unsafe," Becraft says. "I think Uber has its place, I just don't think it's in emergency medicine."